Friday, August 29, 2014

Incompetent IV Placement Botches Execution

The autopsy report on Clayton Lockett has been released. Mr. Lockett was the convicted murderer who was executed by the state of Oklahoma back on April 29. The incident made national headlines when the procedure took over 45 minutes to conclude. Witnesses reported that the prisoner was writhing and appeared to be vocalizing pain after the medications were given. At the time, a doctor stated that the IV had blown and they had to start a new one. Ultimately Mr. Lockett died but due to a cardiac arrest.

The autopsy now shows that Mr. Lockett did indeed pass away from the drugs that were administered, not an MI. However, the reason that death took so long was because the drugs had infiltrated into the soft tissue instead passing directly into his blood stream. And it appeared the prison staff tried REALLY hard to get an IV in. Examination of the body showed IVs were attempted in both arms, the neck, the right foot, and both groins. It seems that the femoral veins too were not successfully cannulated which led to the IV infiltration.

The drugs that were given also came to light. They included midazolam, vecuronium, and potassium. While the dosages that were administered were not listed, it would appear that an IM injection of midazolam may not have been sufficient to cause amnesia if they were giving him the usual IV dose. Vecuronium would also have taken a lot longer and need a bigger dose to work in the soft tissue, possibly causing the prolonged movements that were witnessed. And that potassium injection into muscle would have hurt like heck.

Perhaps before the next time the Oklahoma penitentiary system attempts another execution, they should read my advice on how to start a difficult IV. But then again, convicted murderers like these don't deserve much mercy after the harrowing crimes they committed that landed them on that executioner's table in the first place.

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